One of the hallmarks of a Dell PC is its usability, and the Dell Inspiron 15z is no different. The keyboard is very comfortable to use, with a decent amount of travel on each key. One surprising factor is that despite a width of 15 inches across the chassis, Dell hasn't included a dedicated numeric keypad.
The centrally-placed touchpad also isn't as wide as it could be, although it was pleasingly responsive. Given that you'll be navigating the Windows 8 user interface with the touchpad rather than the screen, this is a big plus point for the Dell Inspiron 15z.
Unfortunately, one element of the Dell Inspiron 15z's performance that doesn't hold up to scrutiny is the battery life. We ran our Battery Eater benchmark test alongside some looped HD video to simulate high usage, and the battery lasted a mere 108 minutes.
While we don't expect anyone to purchase the Inspion 15z to take out on the road, it would still benefit from a stronger battery performance.
Cinebench 10: 5,995
3D Mark '06: 7,532
Battery Eater '05: 108 minutes
There's a reasonable amount of storage afforded by the 500GB hard drive. And, although we've become accustomed to seeing laptops with 1TB of storage, this does keep the price down.
Because this is an Ultrabook, it also features an internal 32GB SSD, which handles the Intel Rapid Start Technology. It's remarkably sharp when powered up from either sleep or a complete shutdown - helped by the fact there's almost no bloatware pre-installed on this computer.
The Dell Inspiron 15z comes with a DVD RW optical drive that will win it favours with those who prefer physical media. While much content is now downloadable, we still have an extensive back catalogue of programs, movies and music sitting in our CD racks.
Day-to-day performance is very smooth, and even when we had several browser tags open, video playing and three or four programs open in the background, the Dell Inspiron 15z didn't appear to break a sweat.
There's a decent amount of volume to be had from the built-in Skullcandy speakers, but this isn't an audio-focused laptop in the same vein as the HP Envy series.
If you're really into sound clarity then you'll probably want to invest in a decent set of headphones or some external amplification.